The Internationalisation of Latin American SMEs and their Projection in Europe

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This study was carried out by CERALE (Center d'Études et de Recherche Amérique Latine -Europe) - ESCP Europe Business School, on request and with the support of the EU-LAC Foundation and the Institut des Amériques (IdA).

The study analyses the contribution by SMEs to the national wealth and the generation of employment in the European and Latin American business world.

The objective of the study is to analyse the barriers that Latin American SMEs must overcome in order to access international markets and their value chains, and to identify the factors likely to foster the bi-regional partnership. Internationalisation is treated from several angles: external market contact, entry process - causes and determinants -, support programmes and target markets.

It also provides an overview of the SME development process that goes hand in hand with its internationalization. This study focuses precisely on the internationalisation of Latin American SMEs from a sample of nine countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay) and from interviews with the CEOs of 225 SMEs.

The paper concludes by suggesting some avenues for the development and / or consolidation of selective public policies to promote SME internationalisation.